Friday February 26, 2021

Lauri House: A symbol of Lapland’s culture and lifestyle

Published : 30 Dec 2020, 18:46

  DF Report

Lauri House co-owner Julia Allemann. DF Photo.

Lauri House, an ensemble of historical log houses in Rovaniemi, has become a symbol of Lappish culture over the years by the handicrafts and jewelries it produces and the accommodation business it runs.

Located at Pohjolankatu in Rovaniemi downtown, Lauri House offers its clients a genuine experience of the North in the setting of a traditional log house combined with Nordic interior design.

Although the company has been facing difficulties like many other businesses, following the coronavirus outbreak, its owners remain optimistic enough to continue with the business.

“In 2020, we have had one-sixth of our normal annual sales in our shop and income from our event premises. Renting of our accommodation facilities dropped by four to five times year-on-year,” Lauri House co-owner Julia Allemann (36) told the Daily Finland.

Describing the products and services, she said the business is divided into four segments: handicraft shop, handicraft classes, event venues, and accommodation.

“Our handicraft classes are perfect as private lessons for small groups. Our customers don’t just look for some kind of private teaching, they also expect to have a positive emotional experience. Visits to our handicraft workshop and interesting talks about the Sámi culture are part of this,” said Julia, who is Sámi by ethnicity and has an academic background in arts.

“The factory shop attracts customers also thanks to its almost centennial business history,” she added.

She also said the event premises of their company attract customers with their downtown location, authentic and cozy Lappish design and affordable pricing.

“Only Lauri House offers such a beautiful accommodation in a historical log house in the centre of the city. Our guests choose us because they are looking for traditional and rustic design. Personal communication is even more important in this setting,” said Julia.

Total capacity of the hotel is 30 pp. All apartments are fully equipped with their own kitchenette. The event venue consists of partitioned meeting rooms with the possibility to divide a group into small sub-groups. This flexible setup is suitable for both work meetings and celebrations. They attract clients with their central location, unique historical building, and very high score of reviews in the social media.

Pointing out the historical background of the business, Julia told about Goldsmith Johannes Lauri, who came from Southern Ostrobothnia to Rovaniemi in 1920 and started his knife factory in 1924 at the same place where the Lauri House workshop and factory shop are located today. The place was destroyed in 1945, when the Germans set the entire city of Rovaniemi on fire. After the war, Lauri planned to bring an old log house from the countryside to Rovaniemi to rebuild his business. The plan was finally realized when Lauri’s successors found and moved a suitable building in 1968. After Johannes Lauri’s death, the business was continued in the 1970’s under different names until the establishment of Lauri tuotteet Oy in 1978. Lauri tuotteet Oy bought the property, revamped the log house, and brought a new warehouse building from the Village of Kuivaniemi.

“In 2017, the Lauri property was bought by Hilla House Oy, a company jointly owned by me Julia Allemann and my former husband and now business partner Lukas Allemann. We decided to keep the heritage of Lauri alive and kept the small-scale production of highly artistic local handicrafts and jewelry. In addition, we transformed formerly unused parts of the property into a cozy guest house,” said Julia.

Julia says that normally 90% of their customers are tourists, but the situation changed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now the guests mainly come from Finland. During the Christmas season, the place especially attracts foreign residents of Finland, who come mainly from the Helsinki area.

The entrepreneurs, however, are not too positive about the near future. If the situation will not recover by the beginning of next winter season, it is not sure that our company will survive.

“Lauri is a small but strong company and it will do its best to continue to be on the market. We should also realize that many spheres of tourism have changed forever. Our company has taken the crisis do adjust its operations on a long-term basis. In a changed world with less travelling – be it due to a pandemic, due to a global economic crisis or due to a possible climate lockdown, it is wise to focus more on local and regional customers,” said Julia.

As a part of the cautionary measures in the backdrop of coronavirus pandemic, the company has upgraded its cleaning procedures in accordance with WHO guidelines and recommends using disinfecting liquid for hands to its shop customers, Julia added.